Hollyoaks has produced a factual documentary highlighting the issues around sexual consent among young people.
The short film – Hollyoaks: What Is Consent? – will air on ALL4 following the E4 broadcast of a special single-strand Hollyoaks episode, set across 24 hours during freshers’ week.
It features groups of students aged between 17 and 28 discussing the issues around sexual consent after being presented with a case study of two students who get together at a party.
They discussed their views before it was revealed that characters ‘E’ and ‘N’ were actually Ellie (Sophie Porley) and Nick (Ben Ryan Davies) from Hollyoaks, and that the case study was the storyline of an upcoming episode of the soap.
Hollyoaks executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to start a discussion about sexual consent on this platform.
“Watching the film and the students’ response to this subject and then subsequently to the episode simply confirms what a much-needed conversation this is.
“At Hollyoaks we never want to lecture our audience – it is to encourage them to think and talk about decisions that affect them and others and ultimately look after one another.”
Channel 4 commissioning editor Manpreet Dosanjh said: “Hollyoaks, with the support of Rape Crisis and The Mix, is able to tackle the issue of sexual consent in a truthful and informative way that’s accessible and relevant to its audience.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to explore the subject further with a documentary film that encourages discussion about this timely storyline.”
Katie Russell from Rape Crisis said she hopes the programme will encourage more people of all ages to think about and discuss the issue.
She said: “Consent doesn’t need to be a grey area; when we consider what the law says and have open and honest conversations, it’s actually a pretty straightforward concept that we can all understand and respect.
“And, critically, sex without consent is rape, so it’s not something any of us should want or can afford to ignore. It’s high time that sex and relationships education, that properly addresses consent, was compulsory in all schools and that we all got comfortable talking about it.
“Rape Crisis has been delighted to support Hollyoaks with this storyline and documentary and we hope those who’ve been affected by the issues raised will visit our website to find confidential, specialist support: www.rapecrisis.org.uk.”